Wisconsin, WI

Across the nation, families are struggling to get ahead, particularly single mothers who are caught in the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. To alleviate the plight of single mothers, the state of Wisconsin is taking positive steps to provide assistance programs that ease their financial burdens.

Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit #

Wisconsin was among the first states to adopt an EITC program, offering workers with earnings a percentage refund of the taxes they pay.

Wisconsin’s EITC is based on a percentage of the federal credit for which filers are eligible and varies depending on the number of qualifying children.

No. of Children % of Credit
1 4%
2 11%
3 or more 34%

A filer in Wisconsin without dependent children is, however, not eligible for the state EITC.

Wisconsin Works (W-2) #

W-2 is one of Wisconsin’s time-limited work-based programs available to low-income parents and pregnant women who meet eligibility requirements. The primary goal of the Wisconsin Works (W-2) is self sufficiency.

The program offers W-2 participants cash payments of up to $653 per month for participating in job training and employment programs.

In order to qualify for W-2, you must be a resident of Wisconsin, either pregnant or be responsible for a child under 19 years of age.

Parents with children whose family income is below 115% of the poverty level are eligible. The current limit is about $26,480 a year for a family of three.

How do I get my W2 in Wisconsin?

If your children don’t live with you, Wisconsin offers Noncustodial Parent Services to help low-income noncustodial parents become self-sufficient and able to pay child support.

FoodShare Wisconsin #

FoodShare Wisconsin provides monthly benefits to families with limited income to help pay for the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Benefit levels vary widely — a family of three in Wisconsin now average a little more than $380 per month.

Anyone is eligible but the program is designed to help those who need food assistance most. Single mothers living on small or fixed income, the elderly, people with disabilities are given highest priority.

How do I sign up for FoodShare in Wisconsin?

If you are accepted into the program, your FoodShare benefits are automatically deposited to your Wisconsin QUEST Card account on the same day of each month you are eligible.

Wisconsin Shares #

Wisconsin’s Child Care Subsidy program — known as Wisconsin Shares, helps low-income working families pay for child care. If the parent is eligible, child care can be subsidized for children under the age of 13 (up to 19 if special needs).

The program pays for part of the child care costs, and the remaining cost is co-paid by the parent. The co-payment can be as low as 2% of the family’s gross income.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Wisconsin?

You may apply online at access.wisconsin.gov or apply in person at any W-2 agency near you. Either way, you’ll have to go through a phone interview to determine your eligibility.

Wisconsin Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #

WIC provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin with a household income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level; and be individually determined to be at nutritional risk by a health professional.

How do I sign up for WIC in Wisconsin?

To apply for WIC benefits, contact a local WIC office near you. If you are eligible, you will receive an eWIC card to purchase specific healthy foods at the grocery store.

To find out more about WIC and other programs for which you may be eligible, call toll-free 1-800-722-2295, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wisconsin BadgerCare Plus #

BadgerCare Plus offers free or low-cost health care coverage to eligible adults, children and families in Wisconsin as well as pregnant women.

BadgerCare Plus covers types of health care services such as:

  • Basic medical needs
  • Mental health
  • Care in certain settings
  • Assisted living
  • Pregnancy and family planning

To find out more about coverage for a specific service and copay, please follow this link.

What is the income limit for Medicaid in Wisconsin?

Among a few remaining non-expansion states, Wisconsin is the only state that provides full Medicaid coverage to parents and adults with incomes up to the poverty threshold.

BadgerCare Plus covers adults with incomes at or below 100% of the federal poverty threshold and up to 306% FPL for pregnant women and children under the age of 19.

If you are not eligible for BadgerCare Plus, you may have other coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Wisconsin Section 8 Voucher Program #

The WHEDA Section 8 Voucher Program helps Wisconsin families with very low to extremely low incomes rent decent, safe, and affordable housing of their choice.

Eligible families pay between 30-40% of their income for rent. The balance is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

How do I apply for Section 8 housing in Wisconsin?

WHEDA does not distribute vouchers or accept applications in their office. All applications are handled by the appointed agencies. Please refer to the agent list here.

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) #

Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) provides assistance to low-income households across the state to help lower the burden incurred with monthly energy costs.

WHEAP assistance is a one-time payment during the heating season (October 1—May 15) that pays a portion of the heating costs — the amount of which varies depending on the household’s size, income, and energy costs.

In addition to regular heating and electric assistance, specialized services include:

  • Emergency fuel assistance,
  • Counseling for energy conservation and energy budgets,
  • Pro-active co payment plans,
  • Targeted outreach services,
  • Emergency furnace repair and replacement.

How do I apply for fuel assistance in Wisconsin?

To be eligible for WHEAP, the household income must not exceed 60% of the median income in the state. Application is made through the local WHEAP agency.

For more information on how to apply
Call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947)

Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance #

Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own. It is intended to provide a safety net to eligible workers and their families during times of unemployment.

How much is unemployment benefits in Wisconsin?

The maximum unemployment benefit you can get in Wisconsin is $670 a week through September 6, 2021. After that, the maximum benefit is capped at $370 a week.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to register with Job Center of Wisconsin and actively seek suitable employment each week that you are collecting benefits.

Wisconsin Tuition Grant #

Wisconsin Tuition Grant (WTG) provides grant assistance — up to $3,150, to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents attending a non-profit college or university in Wisconsin.

To be considered for this grant, you must complete the FAFSA each year by April 1st. Selection is based upon financial need with a limit of 10 semesters of eligibility.

Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant #

Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant provides grant assistance to the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin.

Initial awards to first-time freshman students range from $600 to $1,800 per year and are awarded on a first come first served basis until funds are depleted.

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